Newham Citizens' Assembly to discuss 'greening borough' after public vote

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz has responded to the independent report. Picture: Andrew Baker

Newham mayor Rokhsana Fiaz says the citizens' assembly will help ensure people's voices are heard. - Credit: Andrew Baker

England’s first permanent Citizens’ Assembly will focus on making Newham more environmentally friendly this summer, following a public vote.

People living in the borough had the chance to vote on the two most important local issues from a shortlist, with those selected to be discussed by the Newham Citizens’ Assembly. 

Fifty people are being randomly selected to join the assembly to discuss challenges facing the borough and recommend ways the council should tackle them.

Greening the borough was chosen by 31 per cent of voters, who made their choices via the council’s website. 

Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said: “People have a right to have their say about our Newham community and my job as mayor is to make sure their voice is heard. 

“So many residents have told me how important parks and green spaces have been to their mental and physical wellbeing during lockdown.

"It is no surprise that they have decided they want the first Citizens’ Assembly to examine how we can make the borough’s green spaces more attractive and enjoyable for people.” 

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Assembly participants will take part in Covid-compliant events between mid-June and the end of July to discuss the best way to green the borough.

The issue was closely followed in the voting (30pc) by "the 15-minute neighbourhood", which will be debated at the second Citizens’ Assembly in the autumn.

“People want to live in vibrant communities where people can easily work, meet, shop, and access the everyday services they need, but are concerned that some of our high streets are struggling,” Ms Fiaz said. 

“The 15-minute neighbourhood discussion will allow people to have their say on the neighbourhoods they want.” 

The next most popular issues were tackling health inequalities (19pc) and a new deal for young people (15pc).

The town hall says people are being given the chance to have their say as part of a “radical overhaul” of democracy in the borough, designed to involve residents in decisions and build trust in the council.

Newham Council wrote to 10,000 households, chosen at random, inviting them to register for a place on the citizens’ assembly. 

People who registered are being randomly selected to take part.